I've been hiding a little secret for several months. It came as a shock to me when I first discovered David was going to build a float for the Toowoomba Carnival of flowers this year. Because he's one of the organisers for the Dr Who Club of Australia, local group, he thought it would be nice to enter a float to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the BBC's television program.
And didn't it take a lot of organising to do it! Luckily he had a swell of eager helpers in the local group.
The TARDIS (or blue police box) took pride of place on the float. It is being modeled here with one of the group members, who dressed as the newest version of the Dr's nemesis, the "Master". Okay, so it wasn't the prettiest float in the parade, but it sure got a lot of attention when it finally came to a standstill. The crowd huddled around to take pictures of the life-sized TARDIS.
The TARDIS itself has a remarkable story to tell. It was built by one of the local members of our group, before the group was even formed. It then went to a few conventions (even used as a prop in a photo shoot, for one of the actor's who played one of the Dr's companions) where it eventually caught the attention of another enthusiast. The TARDIS then moved to its new owners possession. When David put the call out for the Carnival float, the new owner carted it from two hours away on the day of the carnival.
Here is the twist. A few hours into the parade and David learned the new owner had been taken to hospital, not long after helping to erect the TARDIS. He had some previous health concerns which unexpectedly took a turn for the worse. He had his wife and young baby with him at the time. Thankfully, the guy who originally built the TARDIS had arranged for them to have accommodation and David is going to check-in with them today. If it wasn't for this guys charitable heart, there would be no pride of place on the float. So we are ever so grateful and hope he returns to good health soon.
There are dozens of stories to go along with the coming together of this float. Like my daughter, Sarah, here on the float. She was so excited to dress up as one of the Sibylline Sisters, from the "Fires of Pompeii", episode, and even had another member of the group create their own costume too (hello, V).
Unfortunately, as I was to learn after the float came to the end of its journey, Sarah nearly passed out while it was en route. Amongst all the commotion and excitement that was preparing for the float, we had forgotten to eat and drink enough. Sarah had been staring straight into the afternoon sun, when she started to feel feint. They had to stop the float temporarily, and she was reassigned a seat at the back. This is where I took the photos afterwards.
But I knew she was back to true form, when she hoed straight into the free chocolates and lollies being offered by the float next to us. This was after eating a sandwich I had packed, and forgotten to give her *oops*. Peter and I had spent most of that day, waiting for the parade to reach the end, so we could see them come down the final stretch! There is something surreal about seeing a giant police box pass through the backdrop of trees, on its way to Queen's park!
I must say, Peter was an absolute champ. He didn't cry once as I prammed him here and there.
But it was an incredibly long day, and little boys do have their limits too. I think we all went to bed that night, feeling an enormous weight lift from our shoulders - after playing a family card game of Sarah's choosing, of course. Because one of things we had to sacrifice as a family, getting this float to happen, is time spent together. David was out of the house for months. Every day off from work, was spent in some fashion, organising the float.
Of course it wasn't a lone mission either. The float wouldn't have happened at all, if it wasn't for the person who donated their time, to do a CGI of the float to submit to the Carnival committee - or the grandparents who wanted to give their grandchildren the ultimate Dr Who experience in Toowoomba, by donating the use of their 18ft trailer.
Then there was the Landrover enthusiast, David managed to find who donated their time and their 1970's Landrover to tow the float - in memory of the UNIT Landrovers which starred in the show around the same period. And let's not forget the poor family who agreed to loan us their backyard to build the float!
*a salute to God for giving the building crew perfect weather too*
Of course, the ultimate winners (we hope) are the Starlight Children's Foundation, for whom we attempted to raise funds for throughout. David put his Chef'ing skills to good use, running a few food stalls and sausage sizzles to raise money for the cause. That's where some of his days off work went.
I know his intention was to bring the Dr Who community, a little closer to the mainstream one, and I think he succeeded. We hope all the local members who donated their time and resources feel a great sense of accomplishment. We didn't just build a float together - we built a little more community.